During March 1983, famed Gonzo Journalist Hunter S. Thompson spent a few days working for a major Hollywood talent agency during what is easily their busiest time of the year - Pilot Season. For those unfamiliar, Pilot Season is the casting/production of TV shows that have been picked up to be shot as pilots. Based on testing and non-linear factors, a pilot that is deemed successful, will get picked up to become a series. Following is excerpted from an article he wrote for Rolling Stone (R.S. 474, July 8, 1983) entitled "Sitting on the Bottom of the World."
I've been working fifty-two hours straight. Until about 20 minutes ago my attorney and I have been subsisting on Jolt Cola spiked with diet pills, a bag of muscle relaxants I'd picked up in Tijuana (a.k.a. "The Happiest and Saddest Place on Earth") and albuterol for when I have to walk upstairs. But our supply is out (I suspect that rat-fink's been pinching. He denies it.) So he's breaking into every agent's office looking for inevitable piles of coke, amphetamines or, as a last resort, grass. He better get back soon before the uppers and downers in my system collide creating a perfect balance such that I'm straight for a few minutes. If that happens, I'll steal his car and leave the poor bastard here. This is the pilot season I'd been warned about.
After sending out the 300th submission to a mindless Steve Cannell show (for as much as Peppard fires guns the Lebanese Army would sell the Golan Heights for, I'd like to see just one person die!) I needed something fast to ensure my heart won't crawl out through my nose. I was about pour a case of Liquid Paper into a bag and breathe deeply when my attorney returned with an armful.
His teeth started talking before he did. But the gist is he'd found some low-grade coke (fucking Columbians are cutting it with baby powder), something that he purported to be mushrooms but smelled like bat guano, a fist-full of Valium and a quart of Jack Daniel's. Clearly we weren't at CAA -- they'd have better drugs than this.
"What the fuck is this? You were gone for an hour and you couldn't even find Maker's Mark?"
He pretended I'd hurt his feelings. The truth was he'd bogarted some amyl nitrate and was starting to tweak. I hate that I can't trust my attorney, but I poured us each a coffee cup full of Jack and proposed a toast.
"May we never have to do this again. May no one ever have to do this again." I'd seen kinder working conditions at a Nike factory in the Shandong province. But for some reason, thousands of idiots straight out of NYU film school flock to Hollywood every year to take abuse from agents with the paranoia of Nixon and the logic of Lawrence Eagleburger.
I grabbed some pills, washed them down with "whiskey." In about 417 seconds (call it instinct, or practice), I knew I'd be alert enough to simultaneously book, un-book and rebook a meeting while making sure The Troll has his lunch date set at The Farm. I haven't worked this hard since I beat a couple of Mongols outside of Fresno.
Why would anyone work for these Ghouls? It's as if logic stopped inside the Bermuda Triangle of freeways bordered by the 405, the 101 and the 10. S&M is one thing. But this agency world clearly defied the logic of Darwin, Newton, Jesus and Dylan. I swore the agent I was working for had fangs for teeth and scales in place of skin. He insisted it was bad orthodontia and psoriasis, but I knew better. I knew his kind. The greatest trick the Devil ever played was convincing the world he didn't exist. I don't fool that easily.
Fuck. The phone won't stop ringing. If those glorified hall monitors at La Guardia security detail hadn't confiscated my Remington 870, I'd put a bullet right between the 4 and 5 buttons. It's him. The Chief Ghoul is calling.
"Yes, your lunch reservations are set." Bastard.
I took the Raiders plus 5 last weekend and those miserable frauds didn't cover. Stabler had 3 interceptions and fumble. The only one who played worth a shit was Alzado. But he's so amped up on juice, it's hardly fair. I swore I could see the blood pulsing through his imitation Popeye forearms.
Whatever pills I took are making this Hart to Hart spin-off look watchable. Maybe there is an upside to working at an agency. I should ask my attorney where he got the pills. And while I'm at it, I'll check his pockets for those muscle relaxants. I know they're there.